The lack of insurance policies aimed at expert level skiers and snowboarders means many are not fully covered for the activities they want to take part in.
Ski insurance experts Complete Ski have launched a a brand new policy “Complete Ski Black” aimed at advanced and expert winter sports enthusiasts. Responding to the lack of policies aimed at expert level skiers and snowboarders the company has set up this policy to cover everything from off-piste skiing and snowboarding to heli-skiing and cat-skiing.
Off-piste opportunities have been increasing in popularity; with people who are looking for a little bit more adrenaline from their winter sports and are uncomfortable on, the increasingly crowded, resort slopes. With this trend we have also seen the steady rise in the popularity of heli-skiing (jumping from a helicopter onto an off-piste slope) and the relatively new cat-skiing (where you are transported by snowplough to previously unreachable pistes).
Compared to on-piste skiing these increasingly popular ventures have much higher injury rates – as well, of course, as being much more exciting. These risks are of serious concern when we consider that 49% of all skiing fatalities are the result of avalanches, 23% from falling on steep ground, rocks or ice, 13% from hypothermia, 9% from getting lost and 5% from becoming injured or trapped in crevasses – leaving just 4% of injuries for other causes (Planetfear.com). Total numbers of fatalities are relatively low at only 200-300 a year but the risks are still severe.
All these are directly related to off-piste skiing as the terrain is much less groomed and there are no boundary markers or warnings (Planetfear.com). This means that more competent skiers and snowboarders are still at high risk, despite having the benefits of increased levels of skill. Trying your skills on increasingly complex slopes and in unknown locations is a real draw for many but the risks are well worth considering. When it comes to off-piste winter sports many people fail to engage or prepare for the challenges they may face on open slopes.
The clear risks can in many cases be mitigated by proper preparations; with many resorts now running safety courses and avalanche awareness courses to help prepare people for off-piste winter sports. Of course, this type of preparation is essential to taking yourself off-piste and we can’t recommend just trying your hand with such a level of challenge.
Nevertheless, skiing off-piste provides an unrivalled opportunity for experiencing the sheer adrenaline thrill of a fresh open slope free from other skiers. Whilst some insurers and tour operators will provide cover for activities that take place off-piste, within resort boundaries or with a guide, many policies will not cover search and rescue fees – which are commonly associated with the avalanche risks that off-piste skiers face. The costs for search and rescue generally far outstrip those associated with normal medical costs with many countries such as France charging up to £9,000 for search and rescue efforts. These costs are often impossible for skiers to meet and insurers have been slow to meet this need.
Responding to this trend in the sector Complete Ski spokesperson Rob Thomas said:
“Whilst we caution safety at all times when people are engaging in winter sports we understand that there is both a demand and a need for winter sports policies, which can provide an added layer of protection for more advanced skiers and snowboarders.”
Media Contact Details
Name: Carolyn Monchouguy or Yelena Palmer
Company Name: Complete-Ski.com (FWDPR)
Country: United Kingdom
Telephone Number: 0207 623 2368